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The Fabled Les Paul/Gibson tuning issues?

baj66

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Feb 8, 2015
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I found this video useful a few years back, just curious if others do something similar?

 

deytookerjaabs

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51q5KfOWI8L.jpg




I got this book when I was 11 or 12, had it longer than most anything else I own. It should come standard with beginner packs!



Although, come to find out, many folks don't start on beginner packs, nonetheless it answers/guides through so many questions...plus pretty pictures. If you don't have it and you don't know how do anything from basic wiring to beginner music theory to set-up's...it's a must. TBH, I don't even know if it's still in print.
 

Big Al

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51q5KfOWI8L.jpg




I got this book when I was 11 or 12, had it longer than most anything else I own. It should come standard with beginner packs!



Although, come to find out, many folks don't start on beginner packs, nonetheless it answers/guides through so many questions...plus pretty pictures. If you don't have it and you don't know how do anything from basic wiring to beginner music theory to set-up's...it's a must. TBH, I don't even know if it's still in print.

I still have my well worn Hedio Kamoko, [sp], repair book from the 70's. The above book's a goodun as is Dan Earlwines Complete Guitar Repair and The Les Paul Handbook, basic but helpfull.
 

LeMonguer

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I found this video useful a few years back, just curious if others do something similar?


Yup, I pull back a fret and a half, then kink the string around the peg, but essentially accomplishing the same thing.

Though the three finger thing might be a tad quicker.
 

LeMonguer

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I have somewhere an old Gibson "how to play guitar" book my gramma used to use to teach guitar, printed 194?

pretty much all acoustic and fancy dress, but the basics are still the same, figured out how to fret, tune, set up, and a few chords, then got real tired of learning nursery rhymes, and learned a few power chords instead and poof punk rock legend (in my own mind anyway)
 

JimFog

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I found this video useful a few years back, just curious if others do something similar?


Yup. That video changed my life with Gibsons.

I think, from my experience, that a lot depends on what you learned on and predominantly play. While I love my Lester and 335, I grew up and made my bones with Strats and Teles. Even with a floating trem, I can keep a Strat in tune all night. It's just 2nd nature, to me.

Every Les Paul I've owned has had some kind of tuning issue, though.....some worse than others. Yes, I absolutely believe a properly cut nut and clean restringing will alleviate 90% of all problems, I also believe the headstock tilt and angle that the strings go from the nut to the tuners can be an issue.......though the true believer fanbois will never admit it.

Trust me.......I've been a pro player for 25+ years (it's how I make my living). I kinda know what I'm doing when restringing and setting up my axes. I struggled with Gibsons LONG before I ever heard of such a thing from other players or the internet.

But I don't doubt that some of you have NO problems with Gibsons........like my experience with Fenders

As I said, what you're used to plays a big part, IMO.

YMMV
 
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Billy Porter

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I’ve had problems with the G-string since I got mine in 85. Strangely it goes flat – could be my excessive bends so perhaps pulling through the nut then sticking. Like the poster above I know how to string and setup guitars but have simply learned to live with it as I don’t want to fiddle with the nut. At the occasional gigs we do it’s never been a major issue as most people won’t notice it’s gone slightly flat and when bending notes you bend slightly more without even thinking about it


The only real bad issue we had with tuning at a gig (bar the normal warming up of strings) was one very humid night when none of us could stay in tune. We explained to the crowd and they were fine with it
 

P. Gizelt

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If your string goes sharp, your nut slots need adjustment for your specific string gauge. They are too tight and strings are binding. This can be alleviated by lubing the nut, but the best bet is to get a luthier to fix the nut. You've just dropped a pile of cash on a guitar, if it needs adjustment you shouldn't hesitate spend the nominal fee to make your guitar reliable.

If your string goes flat, you need to be more careful about loading and stretching your strings. Use the over the stub/under the stub to lock the string in place. Make sure your windings are touching each other (no space between them). 1-1/2 to 2-1/2 windings on wound strings, 2-1/2 to 4 windings on unwound. No more.

When stretching new strings, gently tug with 3 fingers, then retune. Repeat as long as it takes until the string stays perfectly in tune. No shortcuts.

That's it.
 

P. Gizelt

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Also -- ALWAYS TUNE UP. If you go slightly sharp, roll the tuner back to too flat, and try again. Makes tuning more stable on any instrument.
 

les strat

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Besides the obvious binding at the nut and improper string winding, it could be some of these people have Gibsons that are improperly intonated or saddles ran out of travel.

"That open G sounds good, but this POS Gibson can't play a D or A without that G/B string sounding like crap." :spabout

I never have binding/tuning issues at home or long gigs. I do use graphite at the nut for habits sake and give as few winds as possible on the peg.
 

Big Al

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I am sorry, knowing how to string and set up a guitar includes nut and saddle maintenance. I have seen and often had to fix so many guitars belonging to players who claim to "know how to string and set up a guitar", that I am naturaly sceptical.

Let me be clear, I played music for over 30 yrs, professionally, beeg freakin' deal. In this thread all that means is I have a whole lotta experience playing guitar on stage. More importantly, I also built and repaired guitars as long, including factory authorised warranty work for Gibson and other major US builders. I've worked as touring guitar tech and Studio guitar tech on major lable projects and smaller independents.

This is important because of the experience gained and the very precise fact that my livelihood depended on Gibson guitars being in tune and staying in tune and I am telling you that there is no design flaw in a Gibson that promotes tuning instability. NONE!

Just ignorance and incompetence. Headstock pitchback is necessary for proper nut functionality and works better than string trees or behind the nut string bars as you see on cheap 60's imports. Same for 3 per side headstocks. In both cases a properly cut nut slot is vital.

Too steep an angle from tailpiece to bridge will impair tuning, [one of the reasons I have top wrappd since '74], as will a too deep or tight saddle slot.

Strung properly and properly set up Gibsons hold their tuning and are not unstable.
 

LeMonguer

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yup, the neo gold top, still in tune after several months of regular play, even took a trip to the back yard "band shed" and back, still in tune.

the Custom which i sadly haven't played in several months, was just a touch high, last time I did play it, it was middle of august, and rather warm... so not a real big surprise there.

The Studio, which lives in the uninsulated but heated and dry band shed, still in tune after at least a month, finish on it hates me and everything I stand for, but it sure is cool lookin.
 

Axis39

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Look, you guys can claim that it's not a design flaw... But, my experience is different. I don't say it's insurmountable, nor will it keep me from buying Gibsons. I love my three Les Pauls and my SG and I loved my old ES! But, they all needed a touch of work on the nut to be solid stage ready axes.

Now, new Fenders need work on the nut too. Usually, with them it's string slot height. The cowboy chords all tend to play sharp on the production guitars, especially the b string.

EVERY new guitar I buy, I do a good setup on. They've ALL needed it. Gibson, Fender, Gretsch, every one of them. it includes being anal retentive about the nut, intonation with MY strings, relief, action height, pickup height, etc.

I do agree with Big Al, every guitarist should know how to do this stuff. It's not rocket surgery. But, some folks just aren't handy, some don't feel like being bothered. For me it's a personal thing... It helps be in touch with my instrument. I know if something's not right or off, out of adjustment, etc. I also know it's set the way I like it, not the way some tech thinks everyone should like it.

Again, I will say, I love my Gibsons. Modern with all of their QC issues and Vintage with their wear and tear issues.
 

Don

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I think it just takes a little more skill to set up the nut on a Gibson. Anyone can deal with the nut on a Fender.
 

filtersweep

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Three Gibsons- all have pinging G strings that go sharp. All are running 9-42 strings- unwrapped Gs.

My three Fenders are rock solid stable.

I'll get around to working on them. I don't trust the local 'luthiers.'
 

rick c

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This is a good discussion. I would add taping up a neck and polishing frets to the basic maintenance list everyone should know; so easy and so rewarding.

filtersweep: I also have three Gibsons. I've experimented with lots of little tweaks over the ages but settled with a simple approach that I think helps my guitars. I minimize the amount of string post wrap to about 2"and I'm always careful to ensure that the strings wrap down the post and don't overlap. I used to lube the top three string nuts slots but I haven't done this for years and really don't have big issues with strings staying in tune. Maybe I've just been lucky with my guitars; I don't doubt that using very light string gauges must alleviate the problem.
 
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Shakey

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There is a big difference between a design flaw and crappy QC. In my experience Gibson QC is pretty shoddy and probably the worst of the bigger guitar manufacturers. Like everyone has said the big issues affecting tuning are having a properly cut nut and saddles, in my experience guitars from the factory generally have poorly cut nuts and as for saddle cuts, I'm sure I recall some one saying Gibson make their saddle cuts by hitting the string with a hammer, which one can assume does not lend it's self to precision and accuracy. This being said you can sort all of these issues out with some files and emery boards if you're even halfway handy and a decent tech can sort if out for you easily. Personally I think if you're spending £2000+ on a guitar it should stay in tune, it's sad when these issues are so common on Gibson guitars but don;t seem to be on Epiphones......
 

LeMonguer

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so the neo gold top, finally went out of tune today.

But it took a trip around 140 miles, and several heat ranges to pull it off, not to mention my typical handling of cased guitars I.E. chucking them into the back seat of a work truck on top of several axes and hard hats, followed by driving like a lunatic on rough back roads.

To be fair the Amps got to ride shotgun, as they are both pretty fragile, and difficult to repair.


As for factory setups

It is simply impossible and foolish to believe that any manufacture is going to know what each of our individual string preferences may be, let alone various tunings, playing styles etc. So they get em close, but leave room to wiggle, assuming you will buy it from a reputable dealer that is capable and willing to set it up properly, for you.

As for Gibsons quality issues, well they are hand made, and on a massive scale, so a few blemishes now and again are going to happen, they arn't machine polished, or set up. And Gibson isn't exactly a boutique outfit willing to spend a day on each one, so some of em arn't perfect, big deal, in 15 years who's going to notice or care?

When it comes down to it, you just can't beat how a Proper Gibson plays, feels, or sounds. You can get 2, but never all 3.
 

Big Al

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There is a big difference between a design flaw and crappy QC. In my experience Gibson QC is pretty shoddy and probably the worst of the bigger guitar manufacturers. Like everyone has said the big issues affecting tuning are having a properly cut nut and saddles, in my experience guitars from the factory generally have poorly cut nuts and as for saddle cuts, I'm sure I recall some one saying Gibson make their saddle cuts by hitting the string with a hammer, which one can assume does not lend it's self to precision and accuracy. This being said you can sort all of these issues out with some files and emery boards if you're even halfway handy and a decent tech can sort if out for you easily. Personally I think if you're spending £2000+ on a guitar it should stay in tune, it's sad when these issues are so common on Gibson guitars but don;t seem to be on Epiphones......

Gibson nuts and saddles have minimum slots by design. It allows for a setup to be achieve that allows for a fair evaluation of truss rod/neck and other factory set ups to be performed. The dealer then is supposed to set up the guitar to the customers specs. ALL of the best dealers do this. When I was well I used 11-56 ga strings, later 10-54 pure nickle Gibson BB King signatues, [my favorite], heavier than most for wound strings. My playing bud, Wild Bill used 9-38 Fender set. We both played Standards and both of our new Standards received complete set ups including nut and saddle slots.
Not always possible if they were pre cut. I still do this when I get a new guitar. I correctly slot my nut and saddle for MY string choice making sure to ramp down and slightly widen the rear portion of the nut slot, towards tuner post. I adjust for least amount of neck relief, polish fingerboard and frets, adjust action, intonation and pickups. What the good dealers do.

Unfortunately with Big Box discount chains you get none of that and most buyers lack the skill and knowledge to do a proper initial set up, or are too deluded, ignorant or cheap to have it done right. I have inspected and played all the big brand guitars right out of the box and they certainly are not better. Epi's often feature molded plastic nuts and too deep saddle slots. Might work new but shortly down the line, look out!!
 

grimlyflick

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After recent experimentation with light gauge strings I have now gone back up to my trusty 11’s, my newer 2016 Les Paul immediately started suffering from these “fables”. Off it went to my repair guy and back it came staying in tune with none of the usual pings when tuning. I think thats puts that one to bed.
:salude
 
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